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What can tenants do?

Produced by Massachusetts Justice Project
Created September 2010

To eliminate an infestation, protect mattresses with plastic mattress covers designed to contain dust mites, as they will contain bedbugs, too. You may be able to get these plastic mattress covers from your doctor, or your doctor should know where you can get them. Wash bedclothes, pillows, rugs and clothing in hot water and dry them at high heat in commercial laundry dryers. The high heat will kill bedbug eggs. Keep clean laundry in sealed plastic bags to keep out bedbugs. Discuss other steps with the exterminator. You can request in writing that your landlord pay you back for the money you had to spend in getting rid of bedbugs. Keep all your receipts for what you spend.

To prevent future infestation, before moving furniture or luggage into your home, inspect them carefully. Avoid taking in furniture if you do not know where it has come from, especially if it has many cracks. Clean carpets and vacuum floors frequently and discard vacuum cleaner bags immediately. Eliminate clutter in your home to reduce the narrow hiding spaces that bedbugs prefer.

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